Caracas Arepa Bar's La Del Gato Arepa, One of Our 100 Favorite Dishes
Dish no. 89: La Del Gato Arepa from Caracas Arepas Bar (93 1/2 East 7th Street, 212-529-2314; 291 Grand Street, Brooklyn, 718-218-6050)
Made daily from scratch, Caracas' griddled Venezuelan corn buns serve as the base for myriad stuffings and flavors, and you may as well order several varieties. Our favorite, though, is the La Del Gato, which is packed with slightly salty Venezuelan Guayanés cheese, sweet fried plantains, and slices of avocado. It's a harmony of texture and flavor, hitting both salty and sweet notes, the innards caressed by the heavily toasted but still-soft corn bun. Don't be shy about applying the mango and pepper based garlic sauce, either. It's an excellent complement to this bun, but it would be good on just about anything else, too.
In advance of our 2014 Best of NYC issue, we're traipsing through the boroughs and divulging our favorite dishes of the year. They're presented here as a countdown, but we're listing them in no particular order. Consider this a guide to what's good to eat in this town right this very second.